This is specifically a guide to how I was among the world-first to beat a Vortex Campaign on Legendary within hours of release (At the time less than 0.01% had beaten the game on Legendary or Very Hard put together using these factions) using nothing but a hilarious 17 units of Necrofex Colossus, Queen Bess and one Gunnery Wight.
This will be a three-part series, this first one containing the skill order for Count Noctilus himself as well as general advice concerning Treasure Hunting, Sea Encounters, and Pirate Coves, the second one concerning his Ship Buildings. Bear in mind that everything in these guides will be tuned for this exact specific purpose, and thusly advice that are true here might not be equally as true for a Luthor gun line army, for example.
Skill Stage One – Levels 2 to 12
Upon acquiring your first skill point at level two, spend it in Route Marcher. We will be getting some absolutely vital essentials here for both campaign map utility and upkeep reduction. This should always be your first skill on any Lord if they have it, regardless of faction. Never underestimate movement range!
Spend these three points in Freebooter, to help get your hands on the finest booty of all the seas.
Spend one point in Ghost Fleet.
Spend one point in Go on Account.
Spend one point in Lightning Strike. This skill is always incredibly useful, especially for armies that are either of very low quality or tooled to fight in a specific way, such as the Necrofex Legion.
Level 9 to 11:
Spend three points in Coaming & Preservative.
Spend this point in Black Flag.
That covers it for the first 12 levels. In summary, this has helped you be more mobile on the map, get your characters equipped faster, significantly reduced the upkeep of your units, and made you a greater danger to armies even if they have reinforcements thanks to Lightning Strike.
Skill Stage Two – Levels 13 to 28
Get Inspiring Presence.
Spend three points in Rotting Death. Necrofexes are a massive, fairly slow targets (for being tall monsters, creatures such as Shaggoths are far faster) and with fairly mediocre, while not terrible, armour and melee stats. Maximising their innate physical resistance helps mitigate the vast majority of the damage they are likely to take, as fairly few spells are intended to be used on single targets and most units don’t have magical attacks.
Get Master of the Dreadfleet
Get of the Von Carstein Line. This will get extra funny later.
Get Necrofex Colossus. Now the grand old Count has his very own Colossus, which comes replete with the iconic quadruple cannon of all the other Necrofexes. Nice.
Get Regenerative Hull.
Get Sea Curse. This is mostly a nothing skill for this build, but it allows you to get…
Get Invincible Fleet. Count Noctilus is one of very few Lords who can become Unbreakable without the use of randomly dropped items or Sword of Khaine. This is great as it makes absolutely certain that your Necrofexes will always have the benefit of his Leadership, as his will never be brought below 0, he will never begin to Crumble or Disintegrate.
Get Monkey Jacket.
Put three points into Scarred Veteran.
Count Noctilus – Conclusion & Summary
From here on in you can do as you please, although I’d strongly suggest getting access to the Taunt ability and then going down the spellcasting line.
Regardless of what you spend your remaining 12 points on, Count Noctilus is now an Unbreakable. monstrous support Lord with over 12,000 hitpoints, regeneration (which also stacks with other healing effects such as Invocation of Nehek if more rapid healing is required) and his personal army is now well on the way to getting the absolute best possible out of their Necrofex Colossi. See future guides for how to finally bring down their upkeep to 99 gold per turn and improve them further still.
However, there are a few things to bear in mind:
While Count Noctilus is no pushover, he is kinda terrible at duelling enemy lords or monsters. While he’ll certainly win most fights, a levelled and equipped Archaon will absolutely thrash the Count, and if not kill him certainly mangle most of his HP away. Even so, the Count will often win in the end thanks to his sheer resilience. The point is, try to stay away from close combat with melee specialist Lords as you will suffer unecessary damage. Try to bring down fast moving targets with the firepower of your army and deal with whatever footslogging chaff may remain later.
This army is both great and bad at sieges. You can rapidly destroy all towers that threaten you and blast away from afar, but you lack the capacity to soften enemy units in cover. I therefore recommend replacing the 20th Colossus with Queen Bess, but more on that in the Gunnery Wight guide. In short, be careful with how you move into the city itself so your Colossi don’t get bogged down.
In general, I would advise ignoring the more military ones. Your Infamy income will be more than enough in the end without it! I simply use the Cove that generates a flat 200 in any Minor Settlements, and the one that takes a percentage in Provincial Capitals. Don’t get too carried away with it either! In many cases, it may be more beneficial to simply conquer valuable settlements such as Lothern rather than Cove them.
Treasure Hunting Similar as above really, don’t get too carried away. A treasure will do you no good if you anger the most powerful faction in the game by trespassing and get yourself obliterated. Heroes are useful ways to go for treasure without risking your actual army doing it.
Sea Encounters Sometimes when interacting with things such as Mysterious Islands, you’ll get the opportunity to choose a safe but small treasure, or fight a battle for a larger one. If your army is of good quality and in reasonably good shape and your current situation allows for it, it’s almost always worth it to go for the battle option. However if there’s things such as nearby enemy armies, avoid the extra battle. While the Necrofex army is absolutely capable of beating any army you may encounter here, you might take unecessary damage that may cost you a battle against an enemy faction. Then what good did the treasure do you, eh?